JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Craighead County woman who worked as a treasurer/secretary of a fire protection district is accused of stealing over $100,000 from the district, while her husband faces a theft charge in the case as well.
Valarie Renee Eaton, 41, and Ronald Darrell Eaton, 48, both of Cash, were arrested after the months-long investigation by the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a probable cause affidavit, officials with the Cash Volunteer Fire Protection District called the sheriff’s office March 18 about a recent audit for the fire district.
Authorities later got a subpoena for bank and financial records for the district.
The subpoenas showed Eaton “had paid herself via checks or cash withdraws in excess and estimated $51,000 salary over a 5-year period above what salary Ms. Eaton was approved to receive.”
The affidavit also noted $22,000 was spent on personal items not related to business with the district with the district’s bank accounts.
“Further investigation continued to show that Valarie Eaton paid her home utility bills with Centerpoint Energy and Entergy as well as a satellite system from Dish Network in excess of an estimated $16,000 from the Cash Volunteer Fire Protection District’s accounts,” the affidavit noted. “An additional estimated $2,200 worth of merchandise not approved to be purchased by the Cash Fire Protection District to Academy Sports, Walmart and Kroger were shown to be spent by Valarie Eaton from the Cash Volunteer Protection District’s Accounts.”
Authorities also alleged that Valarie Eaton paid her husband, Ronald Darrell Eaton, $13,000 in unapproved salary and bonuses while Ronald Eaton was a volunteer with the district.
According to an affidavit, authorities also alleged a Wells Fargo credit card in Ronald Eaton’s name “in excess of $2,800 was paid for from the Cash Volunteer Fire Protection District’s Bank Accounts and the expenditures related to the cards were not Fire District-related.”
Valarie Renee Eaton was arrested on suspicion of theft $25,000 or more, while Ronald Darrell Eaton was arrested on suspicion of theft greater than $5,000 but less than $25,000.
A $15,000 bond was set for Valerie Eaton, while a $10,000 bond was set for Ronald Darrell Eaton during a probable cause hearing Wednesday.
Both are set to be arraigned Oct. 27 in circuit court.
The investigation into the case is continuing.